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Ski trains, and growing pains

Notes from the North Woods

Although traditional winter weather has largely been AWOL so far this season, I expect it will eventually arrive. And as the North Country goes, winter weather is better late than never. Our regional economy is based on providing opportunities in a land of ice and snow, where lovers of winter can easily go.

Recently, the long journey to the great, white North has become a whole lot easier. Travelers may no longer have to contend with winding mountain roads while dodging the slush, mush, and frost heaves. Skiers will no longer have to suffer through long lines of traffic, which often comes to a standstill as they jockey for a parking space closer to the Ski Lodge.

The historic Gore Mountain ski train first began service in 1934 and by 1936, ski train connections were extended to New York City’s Penn Station, as North Creek boasted the first public ski center in New York State. Eventually, as modern interstate highways provided faster and more convenient access to the region, rail service dwindled and the ski train was eventually discontinued.

The first, Gore Mountain Ski and Snow Train of the modern era, recently departed Saratoga Station on Friday, Dec. 30. It was filled to capacity, without a seat to spare. A variety of new ski/train packages now permit winter enthusiasts to board in Saratoga and enjoy an unhampered journey all the way to North Creek.

One day ski packages include round trip transportation, a ski pass, two complementary drinks and free shuttle service to the mountain. All of this is available for less than the cost of a single day’s lift ticket. The packages are a true bargain, for singles or families, and complete packages are also available which include transportation, meals, lodging, rentals, lessons and lift tickets.

Congratulations to North Creek, for repeatedly refusing to give up despite the trying times. This little community in the shadow of the big mountains has consistently proven it can stage a comeback, and many, loyal visitors are happy they did! Their success should provide encouragement to other small towns, and offer solid evidence that where there is the will, there’s always a way!

Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at brookside18@adelphia.net.

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